Two Ohio Valley Conference players, Eastern Illinois running back Shepard Little and Jacksonville State running back DaMarcus James, are among the 20 named to the Walter Payton Award Preseason Watch List. The Walter Payton award is given to the top player in the FCS each year.
Last year, that honor was given to former Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
James, who is a preseason All-American by several news organizations and publications, had a record-breaking junior season in 2013, where he rushed for 1,477 yards on 292 carries to set the school’s single-season rushing record.
Little was recently named a preseason All-American after rushing for 1,551 yards which ranked seventh in the NCAA in total rushing yards. His 110.8 rushing yards per game ranked 13th in the nation while his 156.57 all-purpose yards per game ranked tenth.
The Walter Payton Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2014 season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The top three vote-getters will be invited to the presentation of the award.